by Jordan King
Posted 7/15/2013 12:00 am
Arkansas natives Michele McCutcheon and Lindsey Newton have recently opened a Little Rock franchise of Pure Barre, an exercise dance studio, at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center at 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 306.
Both Pure Barre owners are dancers with years of experience. McCutcheon grew up in central Arkansas but currently lives in Anaheim, Calif., where she manages another Pure Barre studio. She participated in the Edge performing arts program in Los Angeles after high school and went on to receive a degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University.
Newton, of North Little Rock, graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a minor in dance. She has six years of choreography experience, including work with the professional dance team of the Arkansas Travelers baseball team. The two dancers met through a mutual friend and worked together to open Pure Barre this spring.
McCutcheon and Newton’s studio offers classes that incorporate a “ballet barre,” a horizontal railing mounted on the studio’s wall that dancers use for support. According to a Pure Barre news release, the dance exercises involve small muscle movements that elevate the heart rate and burn calories without stressing joints.
Newton said that more than 700 people have already attended Pure Barre classes at her location. Because the exercise is low-impact, it appeals to people in a wide range of ages and fitness levels. “One of our best clients is 70 years old,” Newton said.
The studio periodically hosts themed exercise events, something Newton said sets Pure Barre apart from its competitors. The studio’s members, who are predominantly female, were encouraged to bring boyfriends, fiances and husbands to dance at the “Bring on the Men” event last month. Newton said next month’s special event will be a charity workout session with proceeds being donated to the Arkansas Alzheimer’s Association.
Pure Barre currently has four instructors and four “barre tenders,” or receptionists. Newton said she is always looking for potential instructors who excel at the Pure Barre technique and have dance backgrounds. The business pays for instructors to receive training at the franchise’s corporate headquarters in Denver, after which they must commit to work at the Little Rock location for at least one year.
The 1,800-SF Pure Barre studio is large enough to accommodate 25 participants. Newton said the space, formerly a women’s clothing boutique, required extensive remodeling to meet the franchise’s studio standards.
While renovating the space was quite an undertaking, the studio is significant for the fitness chain. The Little Rock location is Pure Barre’s first in Arkansas, and Newton said she hopes more will open in the state. The franchise was launched in 2001 by CEO Carrie Dorr. Since then, Pure Barre has opened more than 120 locations in 30 states.
The studio’s grand opening event will be Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. For more information on Pure Barre and its classes, call (501) 246-3258 or visit the studio’s Facebook page.